TikTok users asked to participate in dance challenge to support NSmen

The initiative will run till June 30, in time for Singapore Armed Forces Day on July 1. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - TikTok users have been asked to participate in a dance challenge to show their support for national servicemen on the 55th anniversary of conscription in Singapore.

Choreographed by students from Commonwealth Secondary School's Chinese Dance crew, the dance includes classic moves such as the body roll and the elbow slide.

Entries can be made via this form, with participants' videos uploaded to an official We Are Total Defence TikTok account.

The Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (Accord) is behind the dance challenge.

The council was set up in 1984 as a channel for the community to provide feedback on defence policies and issues.

It later evolved in 2014 to become a platform to reach out to institutions and the community to increase their support for NS and Total Defence.

Accord is also starting two other contests: an NS55 fitness challenge, which encourages participants to clock 55,000 steps on the 42Racemobile app, and a photo story contest where the community can submit a photo and write-up to recount an experience or memory of a loved one in NS and thank them for their contributions.

More information for the NS55 fitness challenge can be found here and for the photo story contest, here.

All three initiatives will run till June 30, in time for Singapore Armed Forces Day on July 1.

The National Service (Amendment) Bill was passed on March 14, 1967, making NS compulsory for all 18-year-old male Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

It remains important to a small country like Singapore, several MPs noted in Parliament following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February even as they flagged challenges that SAF will have to keep pace with in the new age.

One such challenge is Singapore's shrinking population.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told Parliament earlier this month that the SAF has had to leverage technology and optimise its use of resources amid falling birth rates to become more lethal and effective.

Separately, SAF this year also established a new fourth service alongside the army, navy and air force, focusing on new digital and intelligence threats and capabilities.

Amid some debate about enlisting women to promote gender equality, Dr Ng said that the societal costs outweigh the benefits, and would immediately lead to a reduction in the local manpower pool and household incomes.

He added that reversing gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality are inadequate justifications to suspend someone’s civil liberties.

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